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Colorado legalized medical marijuana in November 2000 and recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older in November 2012. While Amendment 64 allows the legal use of marijuana by adults in Colorado, it is still considered illegal by the Federal government. In addition, even though there are now legal dispensaries for both medical and recreational marijuana, there are also some very real public health concerns regarding the use of marijuana. This page addresses marijuana and public health concerns and does not address the commercialization or retail licensing aspects of legalization. For questions concerning retail, please visit the official Colorado website for retail marijuana information and resources.
Marijuana is made from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance in the hemp that causes people to get “high.” THC is stored in fatty tissue.
Marijuana may cause harmful effects depending on the age a person starts using, how often it is used, how much THC is in the hemp and how it is used, i.e. smoked or ingested. Although THC is the main compound that causes the “high,” there are also over 60 different compounds that can affect your brain. Using marijuana can cause a range of feelings, from that of wellbeing to feeling afraid, and delusional.
Marijuana should not be used by pregnant/breastfeeding women or adolescents.
Marijuana should be stored away from children.
A new public education campaign entitled, “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” was developed by the State of Colorado, in partnership with the City and County of Denver and targets youth ages 12-15 years old with the goal of increasing their awareness of the risks associated with underage marijuana use.
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